tv [untitled] September 23, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
dinner table, he would look across at me and my wife, and just an expression on his face, you could tell what he was thinking. like, i could do better than these two, you know? so i wrote this little novella, a fable about a 9-year-old boy who declared himself a free agent from his parents. he went all over the world offering his services as a son to the highest bidding mothers and fathers. it did ok. i send it to rob reiner for a blurb. he called me and said i am and director now. he did "stand by me," "when harry met sally," and others. the greatest thing you want to year, he said let's make this into a movie. it was the greatest time of my life. and i wrote a screenplay.
bruce willis, elijah wood, dan ackroyd. $50 million movie. it was this a big to-do with the big premiere in hollywood. i flew my parents out from florida. it was the greatest night of my life. then the next morning, the reviews came out. i do not know how many of you remember roger ebert's review of "north" or carry it with you in your wallet -- [laughter] >> to keep you humble. " but to refresh your memory -- i hated this movie. hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. hated it. hated every audience-insultingh
moment-ated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. hated the implied insult to the audience by its believe that anyone would actually be entertained by it. now, -- [laughter] on the surface -- [laughter] this may seem like an unfavorable review. but if you read between the lines, i think he sort of like it. i just love this one goes a little bit better. that is all. >> although it is hollywood. we had these conversations with the people that have bought the rights. they buy a book, and and then they tell you all the things they hate about it and that you need to change it. we're in preliminary talks, and it appears it will be a story about a course in world war --
horse in world war i. [laughter] >> there are questions about the heyday of "saturday night live." do you think it is funny today? do you watch it still? >> back in the days that i was there, it was really exciting. we were all 22, 23 years old. it was our first time in tv. the only rule that lorne had for us was to make each other laugh. it was so much fun. it was live. so vital and vibrant. today i write novels and plays. it i am maliki, it comes out two years from now -- if i am lucky, it comes at two years from now. then i would write something monday, it was on television on saturday. i could write something saturday
and it would be on tv that night. it was immediate. we would have rehearsal at 7:30 p.m. on saturday night. the rehearsal audience would come to the studio. between dress and air, we rewrites everything and then another audience comes in for the live show. i would go upstairs between the show's end of something on the news struck me as funny, i would write it and put it on "weekend update." it would be on half an hour later. two times, i was under the update desk, handing out jokes that i had written for them. [laughter] it was just so immediate. as far as what i think of it today, i think it is really good. i think seth myers and kristin wiig and fred armisten could
have been on it in any era. i think every time you think it is over, you know, john lovitz comes along, tina fey comes along. >> another question. if your hair could speak, what would it say? >> it would say, dave, this is over. >> i get a lot of crap for my hair. i mean, not as much as alan gets for his head. i do not know what to do. this is the way it is. people have tried, really strong, powerful hairdresser's. [laughter] they could do something for a few minutes. this is why i could never be an airline pilot. if you got in an airplane and saw somebody with my hair cut,
you get right off the airplane. [laughter] >> also, you have to learn how to fly. >> nobody checks that. they see the hair cut. >> you're leaving out the day that mo howard saw your head. i am going to wear my hair like that, too. >> do you agree with the "new york times" that david is the funniest man in america? >> yes, do you? [laughter] >> they said that? >> apparently. >> there was one reviewer in 1981, and i have had to live -- who would even say that? i was once on a book tour in england, and they do not think we are funny, the brits. they think they're funny and we're not. so in england, basically you go
to a bbc building and sit in a little studio across from a guy who is way better educated than you, smarter than you, and has the british accent. he asks you questions, and you get up and drive around for about an hour. you get back to what appears to be the same studio with a different guy who is a very smart. every single one of them would start by saying, our next guest has been described as the funniest man in america. [laughter] you know, we will see about that. i have always hated that quote. what do you think, alan, is it true? >> oh, yeah. >> the funniest man on this side of the stage. somebody wants to know, what are your limits? pushing the boundaries. some of the things in the book pushed the boundaries a little
bit. >> my character is a horrible bang human being. he speaks -- my character is a horrible human being. he speaks profanely. he has no sensibility. when you write that, we think that people will get that this guy is a joke. we hope that. >> my character is a good citizen. he plays by the rules. when i created the character and send it to dave, it was only natural for him to send back somebody who was the polar opposite. his character, there is a consistency to it. he is very committed to view this guy is. if anyone thinks there's too much profanity, that is to the character is. i made sure that my character had some, oh, human traits. >> he falls in love with a naked
nun. >> it was a moment of weakness, and he felt badly about it. >> and he did not know she was a nun. >> because she was naked. >> it was a trick. they are known for that. [laughter] >> dave, would you share the story of the oscar meyer wagon interception with your child? >> i have a theory of parenting which is that your function as a parent is to embarrass your children. i embrace that. that is your job, to be embarrassing to your children, just as your parents were embarrassing to you. i was at the miami herald and i got a call from the oscar meyer wiener company, talking about bringing the wienermobile to
miami. there are six of them. a lot of people do not know that. [laughter] this nation leads the world in wienermobile technology. although, iran is a developing more. [laughter] not for long. so they called me up and say we're bringing the wienermobile to miami, would you like to drive it for a day? i said heck yes. i knew exactly what i wanted to do. i wanted to pick my son of that middle school. [laughter] there he is in peer pressure hell. i will never forget. there are all these mothers in minivans. and behind it is this looming hot dog, and i am saying, rob berrryy, come to the
wienermobile. you scar their child psychologically for life. yes, but it was worth it. [laughter] >> politicians, often an easy mark for humor. who among the republican crop of candidates do you find the best targets, and what is it about politicians that makes them so funny? >> where do you start? herman cain, i was so sad when he dropped out. he was getting funnier by the second. newt gingrich is pretty funny. they are all pretty funny. mitt romney, every now and then, conveys a human expression. you know? [laughter] then his staff has to jump on him. they're all pretty funny. i think it is that, if you think about the qualities required to
run for president of the united states, you have to be completely insane or an enormous jerk or some combination of the two. or you never go through what you have to go through to get that job. i would love for there to be a candidate would be honest. who would just say, you know what, i really just want the plane. it would be so cool to have that plane. i think that in the end, that is what they wanted a that is just me. that is what i would want. >> how is writing by yourself compared to collaborating? alan, you have probably done a lot of collaborating. >> man, my whole career. add "snl," gilda was my collaborator. i did the geary shandling show. he was my collaborator. the lord is my creator. he was my collaborator.
billy crystal. it goes on and on. when i write to by myself -- >> you discover you have no talent. [laughter] >> there is nothing there anymore. it is fun raising by yourself, because i can flex muscles i did not have before, but it is very lonely. it is not natural to sit in a room by yourself and be funny. i look forward to collaboration, just as a way to get away from salatin. hence, hello. >> is it easier to have somebody to bounce things off of? >> of course, there is a synergy to it. there's a built-in editing process. somebody waiting to react to it. absolutely. >> dave, most of your career, you wrote the peter pan books with ridley.
how do you like working with others? >> i love it. i enjoy it but you can bounce it off. when riding alone, what goes through -- when you are writing alone, you sit and think you are a fraud. anyone who writes comedy knows that feeling peter i am not funny. i do not have skills. i used of all the jokes. that is kind of how you start your day. sometimes that is how you end your day. >> sometimes that is the entire day. [laughter] >> you look at the window of people going to work in have jobs and know what they're going to do that day. you feel so envious. but then you think, but i would have to wear something besides my underwear. so i will stay here and keep trying to write jokes. >> also, you can wear somebody else's underwear. getting started in a comedy. [laughter]
>> having a background in live tv teaches you a lot of things. one is that nothing is that precious. the audience is coming in at 11:30 p.m. on saturday night. if you do not have the script, people turn on nbc, there will be a black screen. you get a certain amount of adaptability which is really fun in the theater. it also teaches you, in the case that we had with this novel, you suggest. i remember one time had "snl ," gilda and i, about 2:00 a.m. on friday night, which is saturday morning. we were going into a restaurant to work on a thing called roseanne roseanna danna. the "new york post" delivered a pile of papers that said mr. ed
dies. the talking horse on tv. this was the headlines. >> this is the first i am hearing of that. [laughter] >> so i went to a phone and called lorne. i said, listen, i have got some bad news for you. [laughter] mr. ed died. he said, alan, it is 2:00 a.m., there better be more to this call. i said, well, tonight on the show, can we interview mrs. ed, the grieving widow? he said, you find a horse, we will do it on television. i called the guy in charge of props. now it is 2:15 in the morning and i am a jew in new york looking for a horse. >> on the sabbath, no less.
>> so i said, i need a horse for the show tonight. he said, what kind? [laughter] i said, a horse, you know, a knowhorse. he says, there are palomino, a clydesdales, more. what do you want? i am going, all right, a picture mr. ed. who would he choose for a bride? get me that horse. i go home, sleep, shower, go back to the studio. there is a horse there. for the 7:30 p.m. audience, i wrote a piece. bill murray is the weekend that big guy. gilda is going to play the voice. in dress rehearsal, the horse
was coming back. it was the widow, so we put a black veil and little hat on the horse. the horse was let in. bill said, did he suffer much. no-oo-oo, he went quietly-y-y. something happened with this horse between the time of dress rehearsal and when he saw the red light in knew he was on television. because -- did he suffer much? the horse to started going in circles. flipped out. we had no script. gilda going, oooh, so upset. the horses leaves the studio, goes down a corridor at nbc. lorne says to the cameramen,
follow that horse. gilda says, i am is so upset, i am going to throw myself out a window. it was all good. you make adjustments and move forward. whew. [laughter] [applause] >> who knew 37 years later you would be in this situation. >> it was all building to this moment. >> a nice segue. >> i had to bring it back. >> given that, well -- will there be a "lunatics 2"? >> absolutely not. yes, i do not even care if we have a book. it is like going on tour with alan zweibel. very entertaining. like watching him try to find
the gate at the airport. >> you make it seem like i am the rain man. >> he would be able to find the gates at the airport. [laughter] you see the parents with the thing that connects their wrists to the children. that is what i need with him. >> alan on book tour, you have to go to many different cities and make connections. you pack a small carry-on suitcase. when we met for the book tour in new york, alan had a suitcase that had wheels. it would not go in the overhead. the question was, with the plane take off? he had a garment bag. i said, what did you bring? he said that he brought, -- >> amongst other things, i
brought two bathing suits. >> he brought two bathing suits. a book tour. you get a schedule. you go on all these interviews. you'll do this, whatever. what is never said it is 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., swimming. [laughter] >> i brought a black one and a blue one, depending on what color socks i was going to be wearing to the swimming pool that day. [laughter] >> well, they put you in a nice hotel. there could be a swimming pool. >> i thought it was practical. >> it was very entertaining. i hope we write another book. if for no other reason, to see what he brings. >> we will pick two other characters and a situation. >> we have a title. "the brothers karamozov."
what do you think? they like it. >> and do you miss the newspaper world at all? what was that experience like for you then? >> i do not really miss it. i did like it. i did it for like 25 years, writing a weekly column. at some point i thought, i know i have done this for a long time. i would rather stop doing it before people say, oh, you're still doing it? i occasionally write for the newspaper. i go to the conventions. i go to the olympics. i happen more have -- i have been having more fun at writing a books. >> how much fun was the writing this book? >> this was the most fun i ever had writing a book. it did not feel like work at all. i was e mailing jokes to alan
to make him laugh. that is really what it felt like. he was still sending the chapters. i do not think he realizes that the book is actually out. [laughter] neda i am rain man. >> it is incredibly fun to read. it is so funny. you have answered some of this. since you're surprising each other with the chapters. i guess we're going to cuba -- i will show you. was there in the editing when it was done? or did you go with what you had? >> occasionally, and i will not name names -- [laughter] 1 of us would apparently not have really read the other ones chapter. >> you know, i have a lot of stuff. i have three kids. i have stuck in my life. >> i would send a couple questions.
in the previous chapter, they were in cuba and they were both male. [laughter] and one other point, i do not know technically what this would be called. but we were maybe a quarter of a way into the book, and alan killed all the main characters. [laughter] >> that could be a problem. >> i said, maybe you want to rethink that. >> i do not think they would die from that hike, ok? break a leg, you know. >> things like that, continuity issues, i guess. i do not remember the question. >> i do not either. i think we're getting close to the time where we're going to take questions from anyone who wants to get up and ask them. line up at the microphone.
in the meantime, i was wondering -- actually, someone in the audience was wondering. alan -- >> yes? >> what don't we know about billy crystal and/or larry david that you want to share with the international radio audience? which can probably be picked up in l.a. billy is like my closest friend. he and larry are both my buddies. larry david, when we all started out, we used to sit back in the back of the improvisation or whatever club we were in it just to watch larry. he was the comedian's comedian. back then he had hair like larry from the three stooges. he had wire rim glasses.
he would get on a stage on a friday night at the improv. the crowd was predominantly suburban predominantly wouldblue hair. a pure suburban crowd. larry would get up. he will look at them and the first words out of his mouth -- you know, i feel very comfortable with you people. in fact, i feel so comfortable, i am thinking of using the true form of the verb instead of usted. i was laughing my ass off. it was so funny. the audience was like an oil tank. he had no idea what they were looking at. he kept on going. as said, i think a lot of people miss use the tu form of the
verb. for example, when it they stabbed caesar. he said, et tu brutus? is that policies are, i just step do, if there's any time for usted, it is now. tumbleweeds down the aisle. larry would say, the hell to all of you and he leaves. but we knew that someday, somehow -- no one would predict what would happen to him, but we knew he was a genius. >> what about billy? >> nicest guy in the world. what you see is what you get. when i wrote "700 sunday's" with them, i was honored to do it. direct for long island jewish family is not really a stretch. he has a real big heart. there are no secrets.
i cannot tell you anything you do not know. he is a wonderful family man. married to his wife for 40 or 41 years. a couple of kids, about three grandchildren. >> woody allen wrote jobs for local newspapers and comedians. you wrote for comex. does that still happen? >> that is a good question. >> leno, letterman -- they all have staffs. but if you're talking about starting up, most comics writer their own stuff. but they buddy up. that is what larry did with jerry. >> can you teach somebody to be funny, to write comedy?
do you have it or do you not? what about being funny? >> no. [laughter] >> either you have it or you do not. >> you do not. [laughter] >> no, i do not believe you can teach people to be funny. i think people can hone it and get better. but i do not think anybody who has no sense of humor is going to get one. do you? >> this is so exciting. the youngest member of our studio audience has submitted to the microphone. i have to say one thing. please keep your questions short and to the point. >> what point? comments. with that, the floor is yours. >> i have a quick statement before my question.
it is not like there is a line. >> he is funny. you cannot teach that. >> actually, dave, i want to thank you. when i was in high school, my cousin gave me one of your books, "dave barry talks back." i have not read anything like it before. i was on my couch laughing out loud. i went to college couple of years later and said i wanted to try this. i was at usc. i wrote a weekly humor column in a similar style to yours. i ended up writing 100 of these every week, every night. >> and you are homeless now. >> and you are homeless now. >> sincerely, it was one of the